The Taking of the Sixers
May 13, 2019 2:56 PM   Subscribe

The Philadelphia 76'ers were eliminated from the NBA playoffs recently, but no matter what your fandom, or none, something great came of it. This photo, one should take one's time with it.
posted by wibari (39 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
Between this and the dagger from Lillard, basketball is producing some great moments this spring.
posted by nubs at 3:04 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]


I kind of like that some people with thousand dollar front row tickets at a game 7 during a hugely memorable sports moment opt to watch it on the big screen TV rather than just, you know, watching it actually happen. Humans are so weird.
posted by srboisvert at 3:04 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]


I'm not a pro sports person, and fuck the Toronto Sun right in the eye for all sorts of reasons, but Stan Behal's photo (here's a Twitter image link if you don't want to give the Sun any clicks) had a slightly better angle, IMO.

I can't find it now, but I saw a comment that was pretty good that was basically: "Screw all the people saying news orgs don't need photographers anymore since every journalist has an iPhone," referencing Behal's photo as proof.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:10 PM on May 13 [8 favorites]


There is a photographer sitting on the baseline that you can see through the glass backboard who's completely focused on getting his job done. I want to see that dude's photo.
posted by Groundhog Week at 3:20 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Although I think the Behal photo had a better angle and timing, the first one has a glorious composition, putting it into the accidental renaissance category of this equally glorious image of James Harden that hit the twittersphere last year.
posted by jeremias at 3:23 PM on May 13 [14 favorites]


I took your advice and ended up laughing out loud at least twice as many separate times as that ball bounced on the rim as I went from face to face.

If you put a frame around Embiid and Leonard and couldn't look at anything else, you could be forgiven for thinking Embiid made the shot to win the game for Philadelphia, and Leonard couldn't believe it.

Except for the holy/unholy light that's just beginning to dawn in Leonard's huge eyes, I guess.
posted by jamjam at 3:31 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


I'm disappointed to realize that Walter Sobchak over there can't really be Walter Sobchak.
posted by Western Infidels at 3:41 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


This moment needs the video for context and full appreciation.

The Blazers vs Nuggets and Raptors vs Sixers have gotta go down as two of the best Game 7s in history. In fact, these series have been mindblowingly good. Blazers just reached the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 19 years, and they’re playing the Golden State Warriors in Damian Lillard’s hometown.
posted by gucci mane at 3:51 PM on May 13 [12 favorites]


Is it just me or does this almost look like a still from a video game?
The perfect isometric perspective, where the backboard is precisely parallel to the floor, and the lettering on the floor perpendicular to the foul line... the blown-out lighting... the unnatural faces in the crowd...
posted by rouftop at 3:55 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


From a few seconds earlier, I also really love this picture of Embiid contesting Leonard's shot. Amazing athleticism on display, they both look like they're flying; you can see how close Embiid got to blocking it. Also lots of fun reactions from the crowd.
posted by smokysunday at 4:00 PM on May 13 [8 favorites]


From a few seconds earlier, I also really love this picture of Embiid contesting Leonard's shot.

what an astonshing image of human beauty. worthy of the voyager disc.
posted by wibari at 4:13 PM on May 13


man, these shots make me wish i still watch basketball regularly
posted by numaner at 4:21 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


There is a photographer sitting on the baseline that you can see through the glass backboard who's completely focused on getting his job done. I want to see that dude's photo.

That's Frank Gunn, long time staffer with the Canadian Press. You can see his photos on the linked twitter feed.
posted by thenormshow at 4:44 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


I love accidental Renaissance. This one is a nice moment of joy.
posted by a halcyon day at 4:51 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


I love that you posted this. There are levels and levels and levels to this photo! Who wants some context!?!

Okay so I'd suggest that some of the people looking up can't see all the action, whether they are blocked by 6 foot 5 guys, or they are behind the backboard so can't see when the 24-second shot clock goes off (and the red light comes on) or can't see if a player steps out of bounds while going up, etc.

So the main guys in this action are obviously Kawhi and Joel. The former had been injured last season and missed much of it, and Joel's entire career has been injuries and only in the past year or so has he been able to stay on the court long enough to categorize it as anything close to consistency. A lot more could be said about both obviously, but I love how both of them are basically on their rookie shoe deals. So Kawhi has gone with New Balance, and Joel with UnderArmour. Neither one is with the behemoth, Nike. So this moment will affect their brands.

Joel actually gave a relatively poor contest for someone who is over 7 foot tall forcing a guy into a corner with time winding down. He threw a hand up and again, he's over 7 foot, so perhaps it was a good move to avoid a shooting foul in that moment had Kawhi pump faked, especially since it was tied. And since there has been a lot of flailing (hello James "The Beard" Harden!) this season and in the playoffs and a lot of discussion about fouling 3-point shooters, giving guys areas to land. And in fact, Kawhi ended up in Toronto after an extended period of injury that started with a 7-footer walking up under him shooting a shot in the corner.

So bring it all back now, to that moment, where Kawhi is in the corner, watching a big man drift ever closer to his ankles. In his New Balance shoes...

The Raptors player next to Jeremy Lin (who I dont' think played a single moment in this series - mefi has posts on him if you want that backstory) is Jodie Meeks.

Okay lets back up again. You've maybe heard of "Trust the Process"? In essence, the Sixers were here 7 years ago. In 2012 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. In a game 7. Jodie Meeks was on that Sixers team. After that year, Philadelphia broke its team up and sent players every which way, and essentially started "tanking", or fielding a team of players that were never going to come close to winning games, so they could get a bad record, and thus get higher draft picks. When fans and the basketball world in general questioned this, the GM at the time told people to "trust the process". And after the Sixers got several top and #1 draft picks, Joel Embiid actually took on the nickname "The Process".

So Jodie Meeks was on that 2012 team, has bounced around to a few teams, and now watched his current team defeat the "Process". The smile on his face is so big he looks like a teenager that was allowed to stay up late and play with his friends. And essentially the Sixers, 7 years after starting to tank, are no closer to getting to the Eastern Conference Finals than they were in 2012. And maybe the "Basketball Gods" made this "Taking of the Sixers" so.

So what now? The Sixers get criticized for their star Magic Johnson like point guard not having a jump shot (no really, he doesn't shoot them), for Embiid being a lot of talk and a lot of injury, and players like JJ Redick aging. The coach may get fired. And the draft lottery is tomorrow, and whoever gets Duke freshman Zion Williamson might make waves. It's a good picture, and possibly a turning point in NBA history.
posted by cashman at 4:56 PM on May 13 [25 favorites]


Living in a town without an NBA team, I always totally forget about pro basketball until something like this happens.
posted by octothorpe at 4:56 PM on May 13



I know mefi is often "sportsball" and yes, professional sports is problematic on multiple levels - I look through it in a somewhat detached critical lens - but yesterday's shot - for the uninitiated - was one of the greatest moments in basketball, and pro sports, in some time.

It was the first time - ever - that a game 7 (there have been 133 of them in NBA history) was decided on a buzzer beater.

Before game 7, each team had defeated the other 3 times, and game 7, becomes winner take all - the winner proceeds to the next round of the playoffs (or if in the finals, wins the championship).

(This scenario did happen once before when some NBA playoff series were a best of 5 games; in 1988, by this guy and strongly perpetuated the curse of Cleveland sport games had been running for 30+ years at that point.
posted by fizzix at 4:58 PM on May 13 [6 favorites]


I kind of like that some people with thousand dollar front row tickets at a game 7 during a hugely memorable sports moment opt to watch it on the big screen TV rather than just, you know, watching it actually happen.

I know things are cheaper outside of LA/NYC, but they can't possible be that cheap can they?
posted by sideshow at 5:24 PM on May 13


I'd just like to note that the guy whom the article describes as "looking like he's at a wake" is none other than the Ray Kroc of Canadian strip mall parking lots: Jim Treliving, owner of Boston Pizza.

That piece of knowledge is of no use to anyone, but I was wasting brain cells with it and now you have to too.
posted by ZaphodB at 5:30 PM on May 13 [13 favorites]


I love this picture, but yeah, the video is incredibly dramatic.

Also, as much as I was rooting for the Warriors in the semifinals, I'm going to miss The Beard. I know I'm not supposed to, but I do.
posted by invitapriore at 5:33 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


I just turned it on to catch this moment. It was breathtaking. I don't think I've seen such a dramatic moment of so many bounces in a long time.I'm a Philly fan, but I couldn't bear to watch the whole thing. I don't believe in juju but everytime I turn it on it feels like they play bad. I turned it on earlier and the raptors went on like a 10-0 run. I turned it off and the sixers caught up. I turned it back on and this happened... maybe I am cursed.

My photons bounced off the basketball from 800 miles away. The butterfly wings fluttered. The basketball went in because I watched it. Quantum physics made it so. The I watched therefore it happened. Or not. But it is interesting to think that way.
posted by andryeevna at 6:06 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]


I know mefi is often "sportsball" and yes, professional sports is problematic on multiple levels - I look through it in a somewhat detached critical lens - but yesterday's shot - for the uninitiated - was one of the greatest moments in basketball, and pro sports, in some time.

The significance of the moment was awesome in context, but just the physics of that shot was absolutely insane. Kwahi releases the shot from the corner with Joel Embiid in his face, the ball bounces so high off the rim, and hangs for so long in the air, then off the other side of the rim twice, that Kwahi has time to land from his off balance shot, look at the ball, then sit down and watch. Joel flies past Kwahi, lands, turns around, then has time to take two steps back towards the court and the ball hasn't fallen yet.

It's one of craziest shots in basketball history at any level.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:42 PM on May 13 [18 favorites]


Here's a twitter link to the video. The youtube link above has been removed.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:47 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]


The NBA youtube account video (from all angles) is unlikely to be pulled.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 7:54 PM on May 13


Bounce.
Bounce.
Bounce.
Bounce.
Series.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:13 PM on May 13


I love this picture, but yeah, the video is incredibly dramatic.

I love the drama of the background border lighting up as time runs out after the shot is up.

what an astonshing image of human beauty. worthy of the voyager disc.

One of the things I love about sports is the absolutely astonishing things professional athletes can do. I've seen pro athletes in soccer, football, basketball, and baseball that are as beautiful to me as anything ballet dances or gymnasts can do.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:21 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


kirkaracha, the lighting is something that some arenas (I think the Lakers started it) do with basketball, dimming the lights on the crowd and upping the lights on the court, giving it a sort of theater-like feeling. The photos coming out of those situations can have a very dramatic feel towards them, and the games themselves seem to pop a bit more.

As far as the beauty, one of the reasons I give for why I prefer basketball to other sports is that, while other sports might have singular moments that are rare enough to be called out as highlights, basketball is a game where, in nearly every contest, it seems like we witness the human body do the impossible, where, at least a couple times a game, we forget the rules and start to believe that humans are capable of flight. That photo linked up above, of Embiid jumping to try to block Leonard is a prime example of that. It's a perfect moment.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:01 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]


Post-Game shots.

And a view from fan.

I'm Team Warriors all the way, but I love that Portland made the WCF without Nurkic, a 1-armed Kanter , and Rodney Hood going down with a minor, but at the time worrying injury.

And that CJ did it when Dame was seemingly very off.

They also donate a crazy number of tickets to charities and childrens hospitals and ... well, are basically the opposite of what they were the last time they made it this far.

Also, earlier in the Portland/Denver series, there was a 4OT game, which apparently hadn't happened in the playoffs since 1953.

So, yes. These were 2 crazy series.
posted by lkc at 12:19 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]




The bright flashes during NBA games you may never have noticed

Wow! That's a real world gorilla in a suit that I have never noticed in decades of basketball watching. Selective attention indeed!
posted by srboisvert at 5:27 AM on May 14


Wow thank you theory I have spent years wondering about that and wanting to take my own photos that way (although that’s the next step I need to learn).
posted by gucci mane at 6:18 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


2 and a half minute TSN Video from Bruce Arthur: The Legacy of Kawhi’s Game 7 Thriller
posted by cashman at 6:22 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


2 and a half minute TSN Video from Bruce Arthur: The Legacy of Kawhi’s Game 7 Thriller

I always find it slightly strange, in a way, that sports still provide one of the few regular public examples of men waxing poetic, attributing grand significance to life for events that aren't much determined by deeper meaning at all. I'm not knocking that, people can find meaning where they choose, but for how readily its like is dismissed elsewhere, the tendency to seek that kind of importance in some moment of sports seems to say something about the lack elsewhere and the hope of it being replaced in rooting for and appreciation of a sports team. Grace received by proxy before time runs out.
posted by gusottertrout at 7:08 AM on May 14 [1 favorite]


gusottertrout: I always find it slightly strange, in a way, that sports still provide one of the few regular public examples of men waxing poetic

It's the only time the average man is allowed to wax poetic. Sports and cars.
posted by clawsoon at 7:24 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


"Area man waxes poetic; truck" - old Onion headline that makes me chuckle regularly.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:32 AM on May 14 [2 favorites]


Kawhi's winning shot called in different languages. The Korean one captures the energy perfectly.
posted by Kabanos at 12:41 PM on May 14


I'd just like to note that the guy whom the article describes as "looking like he's at a wake" is none other than the Ray Kroc of Canadian strip mall parking lots: Jim Treliving, owner of Boston Pizza.
I thought it was Bob Newhart.
posted by MtDewd at 1:40 PM on May 14


I thought it was Bob Newhart.

Is that the guy in front of Pat Morita?
posted by kirkaracha at 3:12 PM on May 14


Jim Treliving, owner of Boston Pizza.

Briefly: it's a chain restaurant that has nothing to do with Boston, but does have aggressively shitty pizza on the menu.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:14 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]


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